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An order for 250 VA-X4s from American Airlines would follow a $25 million PIPE investment in Vertical Aerospace June 10, 2021, 5:09 PMAmerican Airlines on Thursday said it will invest $25 million through a public equity (PIPE) transaction in UK-headquartered eVTOL developer Vertical Aerospace and pre-order up to 250 VA-X4 aircraft worth as much as $1 billion. The PIPE includes further investments from Irish lessor Avolon, Honeywell, and Rolls-Royce, all of which become part of what Vertical calls a strategic partner ecosystem that already encompasses Microsoft's M12, 40 North, and Rocket Internet. The order contract stands subject to what American called certain future agreed-upon milestones and “other terms” and carries an option on another 100 of Vertical’s electrically powered machines, scheduled for first flight “later this year” and certification in 2024.  The VA-X4, a zero-carbon aircraft that can carry four passengers and a pilot, would fly at speeds up to 200 mph over a range of over 100 miles. “Emerging technologies are critical in the race to reduce carbon emissions and we are excited to partner with Vertical to develop the next generation of electric aircraft,” said American Airlines CFO Derek Kerr. “For years, American has led the industry in investing in newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Today’s partnership is another example of that commitment and an investment in the future of air mobility.” American's announcement comes at the same time Vertical Aerospace said it entered into a definitive agreement with special purpose acquisition company Broadstone Acquisition Corp. to become a publicly traded company with a pro forma equity value of $2.2 billion. It expects to close the deal in the second half of the year and would lead to its listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol, “EVTL.”  Though the Covid pandemic complicated development work, Vertical Aerospace managed to complete the detailed design of what it then called the VA-1X last year and has begun building the prototype. Since then the company changed the name to VA-X4 to reflect its four-passenger capacity. During a January interview with AIN, Vertical chief engineer Tim Williams said the company planned to roll out a full-scale aircraft in late July, followed by ground tests in late August, and tethered first flight in late September. The company planned to start untethered flights next year, first in vertical mode, then in forward flight only, and, finally, in transition between the two modes. Vertical Aerospace has tapped Honeywell for avionics and control systems. The companies use virtual reality simulation to develop the flight deck. In February, Vertical chose Solvay to provide composite aerostructures for the aircraft. The following month the company said that Rolls-Royce would develop a new electric propulsion system for the aircraft. Vertical also announced an increase in its projected range from 100 to 120 miles and speed from 150 to more than 200 mph. Air Transport

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